Well at least the weather has been getting better in Montana, we don’t feel like we guiding in Alaska any more (no more wearing rain jackets every day). However, fishing is very inconsistent. One day it’s good the next not so much. We had the McCord’s from Houston Texas up for the last several days and we’ve seen both mediocre and great conditions.
Day one was on DePuy spring creek which was good but the fish were extra picky, mostly due to a light PMD hatch (and the afternoon hail storm). Day two was one of the best dry fly days in recent years on Armstrong spring creek as the PMDs poured off the stream from about 9 am until 2 pm. Meredith caught this taped 18″ on a No Hackle dry at about 1 pm and it gave us a beautiful fight. That evening we ran up to the Missouri River and after Watching the Fly Fishing Film Festival in Craig, Montana we spent today working hard to boat about a dozen fish. The fish up here are spotty mostly due to the 20,000+ cfs of water they are releasing from the dam. It’s not that the fish aren’t used to big water, it’s that they, like some kind of stability. When the boys at the dam keep upping the flows every day the trout aren’t super happy. Regardless the fish can be caught and when the dozen or so fish you land average about 16″ and extra fat the day still seems like a better day than you could spend working in an office
Well, that’s all for now, but we’ll post some more reports again soon seeing as it’s full on go time for fishing.
– somewhere near the water via iPad
A fishing guide bitching about the weather – that’s strange… Today has us sidelined with 50 mph winds, so we are catching up on some blogging and paperwork. We did manage to get out yesterday afternoon for a bit on the Yellowstone River. Fishing was fair at best. The bright sunny skies had the baetis and midges holding tight and the hatch was light at best. We did however find a number of trout stacked in the foam holes. Until the hatches of baetis, March Browns and Mother’s Day Caddis hatches really start rolling that’s where we suggest you concentrate your time.
Our best technique is still shallow nymphing between 2 and 4 feet with small nymphs.
It’s all weather dependent right now, with some warmer weather and increased water temperatures we’ll start to see stronger baetis hatches and the March Browns. Obviously, the word on every anglers mind is Caddis. The Mother’s Day Caddis is nearing its emergence date. The key is to keep your eye on the water temperatures – 52 to 54 degrees is the key the start of the major emergency. Currently, there are a sighting of March Browns on the lower river toward Big Timber. Caddis have also been sighted on the lower river and up river near Pine Creek.
Spring Creeks (Armstrong, DePuy, Nelson):
Midges and baetis have been very good on the cloudy days especially when the breeze is light. Take advantage while you can with the early season discounted rates until June 14th.
The Lower Madison River is off color from Ennis Lake and Cherry Creek spilling in off colored water. There are baetis, midges and caddis are right around the corner. The trout aren’t consistently keying on the dry flies so it’s a nymphing and stream thing right now. The streamer fishing, dragging a Bow River Buggers and small baetis nymphs dropped below are the best ticket right now. Look for the fishing to pick up with the increased hatch activity.
The Missouri is much like the rest of the waters around the state, inconsistent. The nymphing is getting better, but the water is still higher than normal for this time of the year – 7,140 cfs (2,000 cfs higher than normal). Nymphing is a daily puzzle between flies and water depth – seems it’s between sow bugs and bright flies or baetis and midges. The streamer guys are hit and miss, but a few nice fish are a pretty sweet day, right?
Got any good fishing reports from the area? Then make sure to leave a comment and let us know.
Armstrong spring creek fished very well yesterday as midges and PMDs were hatching. It’s pretty rare to have the entire creek to yourself, but that’s exactly what we had – bonus! Fortunately the weather and fish were both in a cooperative mood.
There was a solid midge hatch in the morning and then PMDs around 10 am, which have just started to trickle off. Look for those PMDs to really start going by this coming weekend.
Nymphing with small emergers and nymphs was most productive, but they did see a few trout sipping Pale Morning Duns in the flats. Their nymph rig was about 2.5 to 3 feet long with a small Palsa Pinch-on for a strike indicator.
Weather & Water Conditions:
Weather was one of the prettiest days of the year so far – 60 degrees, sunny and light winds from the West. As always with the spring creeks the water was in pristine condition.
The Zebra midge in a size 18-20 was most productive, unweighted Pheasant Tails and PMD Splitcase Nymphs in size 14-16, and PMD CDC emergers size 12-14.
On Friday we guided on Armstrong’s spring creek. The predicted overcast and rainy was typical Montana weather, by that we mean completely opposite. It was a bit tough, as the hatch never got really going, but we managed to catch several nice rainbows on the nymphs.
Our only real option was to nymph based on the conditions. We concentrated on deeper holes and the tailouts of pools with very small indicators and baetis and midge patterns dropped about 2.5 – 3 feet below.
Weather & Water Conditions:
Fifty-five degrees, bright sun & a 10-15 mph west wind. The water was gin clear, as always and low as the weed growth hasn’t started too strongly yet.
Light midge hatch throughout the day and light baetis hatch around 2pm.
Our best nymph was a Micro-Mayfly Baetis sz 20 and Brown-Olive Surface Emerger size 20-22. The best midges were BH Zebra Midge & Miracle Midge both in sz 20.